During The Shutdown, The Trump Administration Rolled Back Work Safety Rules

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

The Trump administration used the cloak of the 35-day government shutdown to quietly erase an Obama-era regulation that required the electronic submission of workplace injury and illness reports by certain employers, according to Fortune.

The Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation, enacted under the Obama administration, required employers to submit injury and illness data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The data would be used to help determine unsafe work conditions, and the public disclosure of workplace injuries was intended to urge employers to improve safety in the workplace. The rule also protected workers from retaliation from employers when reporting.

The rule was first delayed in 2017 and subsequently amended to “drop the requirement for employers to submit detailed injury reports to OSHA”.

After a six-week review by the Office of Management and Budget, the amendment was finalized and published on January 25.

Labor rights and public health groups, including the Public Citizen Health Research Group, the American Public Health Association, and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, stating that the regulation should be declared unlawful.

“OSHA has failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its change in position, failed to adequately consider comments submitted in opposition to the change, and relied on considerations that have no sound basis in law,” the lawsuit states.

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